Role of circulating gastrin in colorectal adenomas and carcinomas

Digestion. Mar-Apr 1999;60(2):101-9. doi: 10.1159/000007634.


Background/aims: A trophic role of gastrin has been convincingly demonstrated in the oxyntic mucosa of the stomach, but is still a matter of debate in the lower gastrointestinal tract.

Methods: In order to examine the role of circulating gastrin in colorectal adenoma and carcinoma fasting serum gastrin concentrations were determined in 351 patients undergoing complete colonoscopy.

Results: In comparison to controls (n = 145) more patients with either polyps (n = 125) or colorectal carcinoma (n = 81) have slightly increased serum gastrin concentrations, leading to an increased mean, but no change in median serum gastrin levels. In 3 patients preoperatively increased serum gastrin concentrations were normalized after surgical removal of the polyp and/or tumor, suggesting a local release of gastrin from the polyp/tumor. Gastrin concentrations do not correlate with the histopathological classification or malignant potential of adenomatous polyps.

Conclusion: In view of these findings a significant role of circulating endogenous gastrin in human colorectal carcinogenesis seems to be unlikely.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / blood*
  • Adenocarcinoma / diagnosis
  • Adenoma / blood*
  • Adenoma / diagnosis
  • Colonic Polyps / blood
  • Colonic Polyps / diagnosis
  • Colonoscopy
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / blood*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Gastrins / blood*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Statistics, Nonparametric


  • Gastrins